Vicki Hooks
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The Milwaukee Brace
By Vicki

Chapter 3

The First Day

After I got home from work the next day I decided to try out my Milwaukee brace. I took off my skirt pantyhose and blouse. I got the tank top I used the day before and put it on. I was a little nervous about putting on my brace. I remembered what Dan had said a followed the steps. It was hard to get used to fastening the straps behind me. I snugged them up pretty tightly. I pushed the two sides of the neck ring together in back and tightened the knob style nut. I was all set. I got a pair of sweat pants and a sweatshirt. Getting the pants on was my first obstacle. It was hard to bend down to reach my feet but I managed. Pulling on socks and my sneakers was equally as difficult. With the sweatshirt on my brace wasn’t that noticeable. Only the very end of the front bar and the throat mold were visible. The neck ring disappeared behind my long hair and it also hid the two bars in back and the occipital pads.

I walked around a bit and realized how confining the brace was. I was rigid from chin to hips. I could move my head a little. I remembered that Dan said the throat mold was lower than it should be. I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to have the neck ring up higher. I opened a bottle of wine and managed to drink some. It was hard not being able to bend my head down. I fixed some leftovers for dinner and then went to sit down at my kitchen table. As soon as I sat my brace rode up and the throat mold pressed tighter. It was very uncomfortable. I had to sit up very straight to relieve the pressure on my chin. I could not rest my back on the chair as doing so raised my head at an angle so I was looking up. I later found that sitting on the sofa was really difficult. I needed a high hard chair or the brace rode up even more. I later found out from Dan that this was typical for some girls and by using a proper chair and pillows one could get somewhat comfortable, but sitting in a Milwaukee brace was the least comfortable position. Standing was the most comfortable.

One other obstacle I encountered was going to the bathroom. My panties were under my brace and I knew if I pulled them down I probably would not get them back under the pelvic girdle. I did manage to pull the crotch to the side to pee. Sitting on the toilet was really bad as my throat mold kept pushing up. Another issue was that I could not see my body. I could not look down. I had to do things by feel. I managed though.

I lasted about two hours before I had to take the brace off, it was just so uncomfortable. How could anyone stay in a Milwaukee brace for 23 hours a day seven days a week? I was starting to know just how tough it must have been for my girlfriend in high school, and she wore her brace continuously for three years.

The next day I vowed to keep my brace on for four or five hours until I went to bed. The first two or three hours were easier than the day before, but after that it was difficult once again. I was so relieved to take the brace off and go to bed. I did this again the next day and decided to see if I could sleep in my brace. I removed my clothes and managed to get my bra off. I slipped the straps of my rank top off as well as my bra straps. After reaching behind and unhooking my bra a pulled it out from under the three bars. I slipped on a nightie and got into bed. The only position that felt comfortable was flat on my back with my head resting on the two occipital pads. They were not soft like a pillow. After an hour I just could not get to sleep and gave up. I took my brace off.

The Mall

The next day was Saturday and I wanted to try to keep my brace on all day. After I bathed I got back into it. It didn’t feel quite as bad as I thought it would. I made breakfast and puttered around my apartment. Just then the phone rang.

“Hi Kim,?” My friend Jan said. “Want to go to the mall?”

“Well I don’t know?” I replied.

“Why? What’s up?” Jan asked.

“Well you will will have to come over so I can explain,” I informed her.

“Sure. I will be there in a half hour,” Jan said.

When Jan arrived she immediately saw the neck ring and throat mold of my brace.

“My God, what’s that around your neck? Some kind of brace?” she asked.

“Yes, I am wearing a Milwaukee brace. It goes from my neck to my hips. I can’t bend my back or neck at all.”

“You never told me you had a back problem,” Jan said.

“I don’t. Dan made it for me. You now he does things like this for a living. Anyway I mentioned that I had a girlfriend in high school who wore a Milwaukee brace for three years 23 hours a day. I said I wondered what she went through so he made me this brace to find out.”

“Wow, that’s interesting,” Jan said. “ Can I see?”

I agreed and took off my sweatshirt and pats. She gawked at the extent of the brace, the pelvic girdle, the three bars, and the neck ring.

“Is it comfortable?” she asked.

“God no. It is really hard to wear. I have been only able to keep it on for five or six hours. I wanted to see if I could wear it for 12 to 16 hours today,” I explained.

‘You are really crazy Kim. So I guess that means no mall trip.”

“Well only if I go in the brace. You would have to drive though,” I explained.

“Sure. This might be fun,” Jan said.

I agreed to go and we headed for the mall. Getting into the car was a little tricky as my head kept hitting the door frame. I had to twist to get my rigid body into the car, and again getting out when we got to the mall.

When we entered the mall I knew that everyone would see my brace even though only the neck ring and throat mold were visible. I knew I walked a little funny since I was forced to stand perfectly straight. As we looked over clothes I knew people could see that I couldn’t bend over except at my hips. I did manage to try on a couple of larger size skirts and some jeans. It was easier with the skirts, but trying on the jeans was harder as I had to sit and cross my leg up to get the leg over my foot. We stopped off at the food court for some lunch and I knew I looked strange to people as I ate looking straight ahead and never looking down.

“It’s hard to eat isn’t it? Jan asked.

“Kind of.  Not being able to bend my head is a real pain,” I replied.

After lunch we shopped some more. I was becoming less aware of my brace. It wasn't bothering me as much. When I sat down I kind of knew the best way to do it by keeping my back straight so I didn't have the discomfort of trying to bend over. By the time we were finished shopping  I had almost totally forgotten that I had my brace on. I realized that it really was possible to live wearing a Milwaukee brace full time. We finally left the mall.

Will Kim keep her brace on for 23 hours?

Chapter 4

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